Frequency and risk factors of obesity in a population of domestic cats from Rio de Janeiro

  • Raquel Sampaio Alves
  • Renée Cristine Carvalho Barbosa
  • Margarete Weinschutz Gheren
  • Licinio da Silva
  • Heloisa Justen Moreira de Souza


Obesity is a condition of positive energy balance and excessive adipose tissue formation with direct effects on morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to investigate body condition in a population of cats within the "Brazilian reality", identifying the prevalence of overweight and obesity, pointing out the risk factors found for this sample and to demonstrate the owner's perception about the condition of his cat body. This is the first study in the country related to the epidemiology of the condition of obesity only in felines. For this, we selected 106 animals of the feline species (Felis catus), referred for a surgical procedure, males and females or sterilized whole, with or mongrel. These animals were treated in a private practice in caring for cats exclusive, located on Rio de Janeiro, from June to November 2010. The cats were evaluated by means of a questionnaire answered by their owners about its routine and demographic information about the owner, besides a subjective and an objective assessment for obesity. In this study the subjective analysis was performed using five-point score and objectively by calculating the body mass index of the cat (IMCF). Diseases related to obesity were also observed and described. The ages of cats and cat owners and weight were evaluated by their means and their standard deviations. The various risk factors assumed were evaluated by odd ratios and their confidence intervals. It was concluded that the frequency of overweight in the population of cats from a routine basis was 60.4%, of which 23.6% identified with overweight and obese 36.8% through the evaluation of body condition. Obesity was found in half of the population studied by the method of body mass index of the cat. Risk factors for obesity were middle-aged cats, neutered, especially males domiciled with free access to food. The underestimation of the score by their owners was also a predisposing factor for feline obesity. In addition, associating the subjective method (BCE) with the objective (IMCF) were decisive and concise forms for an adequate assessment of obesity.